WASHINGTON: India protested Friday against the blocking of its latest bid to have a top Pakistani militant leader put on a UN terror blacklist following a deadly attack on an Indian’s Pathankot air force base.
New Delhi wants the UN Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaida, the Islamic State and other extremist groups to designate Masood Azhar as a terrorist. He is leader of the Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammad, or Mohammad’s Army, which is already blacklisted.
Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the failure to designate is Azhar “incomprehensible” and demonstrates “a selective approach to combating terrorism.” He was speaking on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington.
India most recently requested the designation of Azhar after the Jan. 2 attack on the base in the northern town of Pathankot, near the Pakistan border, in which seven Indian soldiers died.
Swarup told reporters the attack “has shown that India continues to bear the dangerous consequences of not listing Masood Azhar. Given the proven networking of terrorist groups, this has implications for the entire international community.”
An Indian diplomat said China put a “technical hold” on the designation. The diplomat was not authorized to comment on the issue and requested anonymity.
The sanctions committee, which includes all 15 Security Council members, decides on additions to the blacklist by consensus. China is a permanent member of the council, with veto powers, and has longstanding ties to Pakistan.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last weekend, Pakistani investigators arrived in India to help investigate the Pathankot attack. India said phone intercepts suggest the gunmen came from Pakistan, and Islamabad said it has arrested several suspects belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad.